Elon Musk has warned that humans risk being overtaken by artificial intelligence within the next five years. The prediction marks a significant revision of previous estimations of the so-called technological singularity, when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence and accelerates at an incomprehensible rate. Noted futurist Ray Kurzweil previously pegged this superintelligence tipping point at around 2045, citing exponential advances in technologies like robotics, computers and AI. Mr Musk, whose ventures include electric car maker Tesla and space firm SpaceX, said in an interview with The New York Times that current trends suggest AI could overtake humans by 2025. The billionaire engineer, who also helped found the artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI in 2015, has consistently warned of the existential threat posed by advanced artificial intelligence in recent years.
The magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic will largely depend on how quickly safe and effective vaccines and treatments can be developed and tested. Many assume a widely available vaccine is years away, if ever. Others believe that a 12- to 18-month development cycle is a given. Our best bet to reduce even that record-breaking timeline is by using artificial intelligence. The problem is twofold: discovering the right set of molecules among billions of possibilities, and then waiting for clinical trials. These processes ordinarily take several years, but AI holds the key to radically shortening both.